Response to Bruno Bettleheim’s “The Holocaust.”

This essay has profoundly affected me. While I was reading, images flashed in my head gathered from all of the movies, pictures and stories that I had heard or seen. Clips of the concentration camps, mass graves, people being starved to death, beaten, cremated, and gassed flickered through my head. I am troubled by the definition of the word “holocaust” and angry that such a gentle word was given to this terrible event in history. I am in agreement with Bettelheim’s contempt and outrage for using a technical term such as “holocaust” as a distancing device; it separates the intellectual from the emotional (Bettelheim). We have to remember what happened and experience the emotional side of this ruthless and brutal act. Not only to prevent it from happening again, but to remember the millions of Jews who were murdered.


Works Cited

Bettleheim, Bruno. “The Holocaust.” The Mercury Reader. Ed. Janice Neulieb, et al. Boston, MA: Pearson, 2005. 6-9


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